MAKER OF EXPENSIVE PRINTER INK HP has announced that its chairman and several other board members have stepped down in response to evident shareholder dissatisfaction.
HP's shareholder meeting returned the firm's board but only by a close margin, which sent a signal that the people who own the company were not entirely pleased with upper management. Now HP chairman Ray Lane along with board members John Hammergren and Ken Thompson have stepped down, though Lane will continue to serve as on the board.
While HP searches for a new chairman, HP board member Ralph Whitworth will step up as interim chairman. Whitworth said the firm will also search for replacements for Hammergren and Thompson.
According to Whitworth, the trio of Lane, Hammergren and Thompson had taken a "personal decision" to step down and the board is "passionate about moving beyond the challenges of the past few years so we can focus solely on supporting the HP team as Meg [Meg Whitman, HP CEO] leads us through this Herculean turnaround".
In recent years HP has been rocked by a number of scandals, from former CEO Mark Hurd leaving the company under a cloud through the brief but disastrous reign of CEO Leo Apothecker to the multi-billion dollar writedowns of Autonomy and EDS.
Whitworth said that the firm will not rush to find Lane's successor and that the investment firm he represents holds around $800m in HP stock, meaning it's in his interest to find a capable replacement for Lane. Although Whitworth said the firm will take its time in finding a new chairman and two directors, he said that the firm intends to do this by the end of 2013. µ